City Guide: Los Angeles

Leaving the Beloved Animal to Create a Critic’s Darling in Koreatown

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Getting the Dirt with Abbott Kinney Up-and-Comer Scott Winegard

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Vegan Mexican Food Was This Chef’s Lifelong Dream—Now It’s an A-List Hotspot

Read about Chandra ›

Dining in an 1876 Cathedral with Neal Fraser

Read about Neal ›

Waking Up A Tired Stretch of Melrose with New Wave Riviera Cuisine

Read about Stephen ›

Seating the Stars at an Old-School Hollywood Institution

Read about Christian ›
Reinventing Chicken Wings in Culver City
The chef and owner of AKASHA once traveled the world with Michael Jackson. Now she just wants you to feel like you’re having dinner at her house.

Only in Los Angeles might a young woman arrive to study with a kundalini yoga teacher, and end up becoming Michael Jackson’s personal chef. That’s the story of Akasha Richmond, who while gleaning the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, also cooked at the temple’s on-site vegetarian restaurant. It was there that she met The King of Pop, and later too cooked for Barbra Streisand, Billy Bob Thornton, and Pierce Brosnan. In 2008, a friend suggested she open her own restaurant “just for fun.” They went out looking and found the building where AKASHA now stands, originally built as the hospital for Culver City in 1934. Detecting its friendly feng shui, Richmond decided she would dedicate her food to the customer in the neighborhood. “I’m not spoon-dragging, I’m not putting flowers on a plate,” she says, adding that her top sellers are the turkey burger, onion rings and chicken wings. “I’m really proud of those wings,” she says, and waxes about the overnight tandoori-like marinade with 20 different spices, and how she smokes the wings, fries them to order, then tops them with more spices and serves them with two chutneys. Next door to AKASHA is AR Cucina, also run by Richmond, and inspired by her travels throughout Italy, where she has eaten at the famous Osteria Francescana—widely considered the world’s best restaurant—but where she preferred the tiny, four-table Hosteria Gjusti in Modena. “We went there for lunch, and it was the mom and maybe one other person in the kitchen, and the daughter and the son on the floor,” she remembers. A similar model of hospitality and warmth is exactly what her restaurants have become known for—and we can all be glad she was a better student of food than yoga.

AKASHA
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9543 Culver Boulevard, Culver City CA 90232
(310) 845-1700

Chef Akasha Richmond decided she would dedicate her food to the customer in the neighborhood. “I’m not spoon-dragging, I’m not putting flowers on a plate,” she says.